Eating Healthy When You Don’t Really Know How to Cook

The idea of eating healthy is brilliant… until you realize that you don’t know how to cook. I am slowly but surely learning my way around the kitchen. Although, that hasn’t always been the case. Eating unhealthy is easy, that’s why so many people do it. It is much more complicated to put thought into everything you eat and work on getting it all prepared. I spend quite a bit more time in the kitchen these days, but I have many recipes that require little-to-no cooking. There are even a few that don’t require me to even step foot in a kitchen.

Life is busy and crazy. Sadly, sometimes taking care of ourselves gets pushed to the back burner. These recipes and food ideas can help to quickly keep you and your health on the front lines. They are low-commitment recipes that can get you in and out of the kitchen. Conveniently, they’re pretty cheap too. Healthy doesn’t mean difficult, exhausting or too complicated. Healthy means healthy.

Breakfast

  • Egg White Wraps
    • Ingredients: Egg whites, tortillas, salsa, spreadable cheese
    • How To: Scramble the egg whites. While those are cooking, spread cheese (I prefer Laughing Cow White Cheddar but all the flavors are amazing!) on the tortilla. Add cooked eggs. Fold. Use salsa (Herdez is my fave) to taste!
  • Dressed-up English Muffins
    • Ingredients: English Muffin, Nut Butter (your choice: almond, peanut, etc.) with toppings
    • How To: Toast the Muffin. Spread whatever you decide on it (I use PB2 peanut butter powder because it’s low calorie and high protein). Top with fruit (I like banana, blueberries, and strawberries).
  • Yogurt Bowls (my favorite!! and easiest)
    • Ingredients: Yogurt, Granola, Fruit toppings
    • How To: Add yogurt of choice (I always opt for Siggi’s. Coconut is my favorite flavor!). Add Granola (Bear Naked and Purely Elizabeth are both great. Bear Naked is a more cost effective brand). Top with fruits like banana, blueberries, kiwi, strawberries. This can all be topped with whatever you like!

Well, we have successfully made it through breakfast with the most difficult skills being scrambling eggs and plugging in the toaster.

Lunch 

  • Tuna Packs
    • Ingredients: Starkist Tuna packages (all flavors) & creativity
    • How To: These are super versatile for quick, easy meals. Add these tuna packages (regular and Buffalo are my favorite flavors) as salad toppings, into tortilla wraps, or just by themselves as a little protein. They seem small but are packed with protein and can help keep you full longer.
  • Turkey wraps
    • Ingredients: Wrap (Joseph’s Lavash till I die! but any low call wrap will work), Turkey (try to find some with reduced sodium, sauce of choice, spinach, other choice toppings
    • How To: Take your wrap and fill it with turkey, sauce and toppings. SIMPLICITY at it’s best!
      • Here are two of my go-to’s:
        • Turkey/Apple Wrap
          • Fill wrap with turkey, apple slices, Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss, and baby spinach.
        • Poppyseed Turkey Wrap
          • Fill wrap with turkey, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, and lightly top with poppyseed dressing of choice.

Oops, we did it again…. no cooking required here.

Dinner

  • Chicken & Veggies
    • Ingredients: Store-bought Rotisserie chicken, frozen veggies, & frozen brown rice
    • How To: This is one of the classic “healthy” meals that requires no cooking. Buy a Rotisserie chicken from the local grocery store and shred the whole thing. I keep it in a tupperware all week so I don’t have to worry with the shredding over and over again. Microwave the brown rice and whatever veggie you choose. My favorite brand to use is Bird’s Eye because they are quick and come out tasting fresh.

If there is one thing I refuse to compromise on it’s pizza. So, I have made pizza a staple in my weeknight meals.

  • Pizzas
    • Ingredients: Same wraps from lunch, pizza sauce, cheese, & toppings
    • How To: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Pop tortilla/wrap in oven (Joseph’s lavash are my favorite for this too because they are SO big for only 120 cals.). I let the wrap cook for 2-3 mins. Let it cool down whenever you take it out of the oven. This hardens the wrap and keeps it from getting soggy. After cooled.. add sauce (your choice!), cheese (easier said than done, but don’t get carried away with toppings), and toppings. Pop bag in oven for about 4-5 minutes and it’s dinner time. I like to dip my pizza in ranch so I never let myself run out of Bolthouse Ranch dressing. You can keep pizza low calorie/low fat and still feel like you are cheating.
      • Here are three of my go-to’s
        • Classic Pep
          • Top with marinara pizza sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and turkey pepperoni. I will also add on banana peppers & olives for more flavor. Dip in Bolthouse Ranch.
        • BBQ Chicken Pizza
          • Top with BBQ sauce (I use G Hughes Smokehouse Sugar Free sauce), sprinkle with cheddar cheese, top with shredded Rotisserie chicken. Shocker: dip in Bolthouse Ranch.
        • Mexican Pizza
          • Top with Enchilada sauce and/or refried beans (whatever is at the store in a can), sprinkle with cheddar cheese, top with ground turkey or shredded Rotisserie chicken. After the pizza comes out of the oven top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa. I buy Taco Bell mild sauce from the store just to make it the total package!

I feel confident in everyone’s ability to preheat the oven safely. Store-bought Rotisserie chicken can become your best friend if you aren’t ready to tackle the kitchen… tons of protein, pre-made, and great seasoning. I buy these ALL the time because they are fast and keep me full. And because I still haven’t learned the perfect way to season a chicken if it’s not fried and dipped in ketchup.

Snacks 

I could eat from sun-up to sun-down and I require quite a bit of snacks throughout the day. So, I have had to learn what snackage is safe when it comes to a healthier lifestyle.

  • Popcorn
    • Now I’m not talking about “Movie Theatre Butter” style, sadly. Boom Chicka Pop is a great option along with many other pre-popped popcorns. Low-cal and a way to curb that craving for chips
  • Beef Jerky
    • High in protein and helps keep you full for longer. The multiple flavors also can help you to feel like you are getting a wide variety. “Epic” is a healthier brand that offers a lot of variety like Bison beef jerky for the adventurous snacker.
  • Tuna Packs
    • Quick & easy and a great source of protein if you are running low on energy during the day and you are starving!
  • Protein Shakes
    • Be cautious with the brand that you choose due to high sugar. Premier Protein shakes are my favorite and can be purchased just about anywhere. The caramel flavor is amazing! Also, this doubles as a great coffee creamer to save on calories and to squeeze in a little extra protein.
  • Protein Bars
    • My favorite brad is “Quest” because they taste like candy bars. Best flavors? Blueberry Muffin and Banana Nut Bread are my personal favorites. All of the Brownie/Chocolates ones are also a hit.
  • Fruit
    • Self-explanatory. Try mixing it up by dipping fruits in all-natural nut butters or PB2 powder.
  • Veggies
    • Still self-explanatory. Veggies are great to be dipped in the various Bolthouse dressings and hummus. Hummus can help to bulk up any meal as a healthy alternative to dressings and sauces

Dessert 

Because everyone needs to understand the importance of, “Treat Yo Self.”

  • Ice Cream
    • Just like pizza, I refuse to live in a world with no ice cream
    • Brands to try:
      • Arctic Zero
        • Not my favorite. It is more like flavored ice, but is the lowest in calories. So if you get yourself in a pinch, this will do.
      • Halo Top
        • Everyone has heard of this stuff because it is easy to find and so yummy. High protein, low sugar ice cream keeps the calories low and is a perfect treat
      • Enlightened
        • MY FAVORITE! The flavors are so yummy and creamy. You don’t even feel like you are compromising on flavor. Only problem? This brand can be a little more difficult to hunt down
  • Quest Protein Bars
    • I shared my favorite flavors above!
    • Secret tip? Take them out of the wrapper and pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds. They bubble up and turn into something similar to a warm protein cookie. Game. Changer.
  • Frozen Grapes & Banana
    • Sometimes there aren’t enough calories left in the day to cover dessert. I always keep frozen grapes and frozen bananas on hand in the freezer because they take on an ice cream like texture. It gives you the illusion of dessert without blowing your hard work throughout the day.

Don’t let the fear of the kitchen, keep you from cooking the meal. How about a really bad “A Cinderella Story” reference, anyone? Regardless of if you aren’t a great chef or just simply too busy to find time to cook, these recipes and ideas are an easy way to take a step closer to becoming healthy. I still eat a few of these recipes every week (specifically the dessert section) because they are so yummy and give me the results that I need. Stop making excuses and start making healthy choices. It’s easy, all you gotta do is jump in.

-O

 

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